Pope’s Message for World Communications Day 2005 published

24 Jan 2005




“The Communications Media: At the Service of Understanding Among Peoples”

Pope John Paul II’s Message for the 39th World Communications Day, which
will be celebrated on Sunday 8th May 2005, was made public today, the feast
of St Francis de Sales the patron saint of writers, editors and journalists.
The theme of the Pope’s message this year is: “The Communications Media:
At the Service of Understanding Among Peoples”.

In his message the Pope says, “Modern technology places at our disposal
unprecedented possibilities for good, for spreading the truth of our
salvation in Jesus Christ and for fostering harmony and reconciliation.
Yet its misuse can do  untold harm, giving rise to misunderstanding,
prejudice and even conflict. The theme chosen for the 2005  World
Communications Day addresses an urgent need: to promote the unity of
the human family through the use made of these great resources.

“The media can teach billions of people about other parts of the world
and other cultures. Accurate knowledge promotes understanding, dispels
prejudice, and awakens the desire to learn more. Images especially have
the power to convey lasting impressions and to shape attitudes.

“Instead of building unity and understanding, the media can be used to
demonize other social, ethnic and religious groups, fomenting fear and
hatred. Those responsible for the style and content of what is
communicated have a grave duty to ensure that this does not happen.
Indeed the media have enormous potential for promoting peace and
building bridges between peoples, breaking the fatal cycle of violence,
reprisal, and fresh violence that is so widespread today.

“If such a contribution to peace making is one of the significant
ways the media can bring people together, its influence in favour
of the swift mobilisation of aid in response to natural disasters
is another. It was heartening to see how quickly the international
community responded to the recent tsunami that claimed countless
victims. The speed with which news travels today naturally increases
the possibility for timely practical measures designed to offer maximum
assistance. In this way the media can achieve an immense amount of good.”

The Pope concludes his message by saying, “My prayer on this year’s
World Communications Day is that the men and women of the media will
play their part in breaking down the dividing walls of hostility in
our world, walls that separate peoples and nations from one another,
feeding misunderstanding and mistrust. May they use the resources at
their disposal to strengthen the bonds of friendship and love that
clearly signal the onset of the Kingdom of God here on earth.”

The full text of the Pope’s message is available on the Vatican website
(www.vatican.va) at the following link: Communications Day 2005.

Further information:

Martin Long Director of Communications (086 172 7678)
Brenda Drumm Communications Officer (087 233 7797)